Finished our second visit to San Clemente during a recent trip to Rome. While not one of our very favorite churches in the city, this Basilica offers a genuinely unique experience as you are able to visit an existing church as well as two layers of ancient Roman excavations in the form of an earlier 4th century church as well as even earlier 1st century Roman buildings and structures. Entrance to the main church is free but there is a 5 Euro fee for exploring down below. No photo taking is allowed, unfortunately.
What we like about Basilica di San Clemente is the mystique environment of climbing down into the lower floors to visit the ruins underneath the existing Basilica. There isn't a lot to see below but its interesting and unique nonetheless. In the main church area, you can find a very attractive 12th century Apse mosaic, nice ceiling painting, which is somewhat of a standard in Rome and a large, spiral-shaped paschal candlestick among other things.
Basilica di San Clemente can be found on Via San Giovanni in Laterano and is ideally visited in addition to the excellent San Giovanni in Laterano. If visited in the morning, you can then simply proceed to the Colosseum and Forum area attractions, which are just up the street from San Clemente. This allows you to see a magnificent church, then an excavated church (San Clemente), followed by classic Ancient Roman ruins (Colosseum and Forum), making a very good 1/2 to 3/4 day in Rome.
Overall, Basilica di San Clemente is not one of the magnificently beautiful church experiences you can find in Rome but it is genuinely unique because of the presence of two layers of history which exist and can be visited below the existing Basilica. It can also be easily included in a morning sightseeing experience that includes the excellent San Giovanni and Colosseum attractions. This is why it a worthy church to visit while in Rome.
Hint: There is very helpful information about Basilica di San Clemente on their church website (see TA listing website link). The website TOUR link provides a 3 layered map of the basilica grounds, offering perspective of the existing chapel and two excavated churches below. There is also a decent video, describing what you can see at Basilica di San Clemente, although it takes a long time to load and watch.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.